Markets Insights

Busy week for earnings, economic data

An oil rig at a shipyard in Geoje, South Korea. Key economic data releases in Asia this week include the country's first-quarter GDP and China's March industrial profit.
An oil rig at a shipyard in Geoje, South Korea. Key economic data releases in Asia this week include the country's first-quarter GDP and China's March industrial profit.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Inflation, industrial production, unemployment figures among slew of data releases in Singapore

Fresh off the Good Friday holiday, the Singapore market returns to trading, with a slew of economic data releases and key Straits Times Index (STI) constituents reporting their earnings on the horizon.

While most international markets were closed on Friday, it was business as usual for Japan and China. Despite trading lacking direction and liquidity being low, their markets managed to register gains.

In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 0.5 per cent, or 110.44 points, to 22,200.56, while the broader Topix index climbed 0.12 per cent, or 1.96 points, to 1,616.93.

In China, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.63 per cent, or 20.60 points, to close at 3,270.80, and the Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China's second exchange, added 0.94 per cent, or 16.52 points, to end the day at 1,778.81.

The Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand markets remain closed today for the Easter holiday but will resume trading tomorrow.

On the Singapore economic docket, Consumer Price Index inflation figures for last month will be released tomorrow, with industrial production numbers on Friday.

FXTM research analyst Lukman Otunuga said that traders will look to March inflation and industrial production data for clues on how the local economy is faring against external headwinds.

"Should the upcoming data releases offer signs that the domestic economy remains resilient, even though headline gross domestic product (GDP) eased in the first quarter, that may help keep USD/ SGD stable around the 1.355 handle, as it has so far in April," he added.

The first-quarter unemployment rate and the final print for the Urban Redevelopment Authority's private home prices are also due on Friday.

With a number of real estate investment trusts reporting their earnings in the past week, the Singapore earnings season gears up with six STI components reporting their earnings for the first three months of the calendar year, this week.

On Wednesday, CapitaLand Mall Trust will post first-quarter earnings. Thursday will see Venture Corporation's and Friday, Hutchison Port Holdings Trust's results.

Meanwhile, the Singapore Exchange will release its third-quarter earnings on Thursday, while Yangzijiang Shipbuilding and Jardine Cycle & Carriage are likely to post their first-quarter results on Friday.

CMC Market's market analyst Margaret Yang noted investors were trading cautiously towards the end of last week, in the lead-up to the heavy earnings release this week.

Key data releases in Asia include South Korea's first-quarter GDP on Thursday as well as Saturday's March industrial profit in China.

Mr Otunuga commented that Saturday's data release in China will be keenly watched "to ascertain whether the data will be commensurate with the robust first-quarter GDP print of 6.4 per cent".

"Markets would want further proof that the world's second-largest economy is stabilising, before pushing further out into risk-on territory."

Among central banks in the region, the Bank of Japan and Bank Indonesia have monetary policy decisions to make on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

One for traders to note is the 10-day holiday for the Japan market (from Saturday to May 6). This includes Showa Day next Monday and two national holidays.

United Overseas Bank economist Alvin Liew said: "This unusually long holiday for Japan has caused worries among the trading community and regulators about the potential for cash shortages, market volatility, or even episodes of 'flash crash' like the one that happened on Jan 3 during Japan's extended new year holiday."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 22, 2019, with the headline 'Busy week for earnings, economic data'. Print Edition | Subscribe